Volkswagen Chattanooga recognized for Environmental Excellence
Nov 13, 2018
Awarded at Tennessee Chamber’s Environmental and Energy Awards Conference
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Nov 13, 2018) — Volkswagen Chattanooga received the Environmental Excellence award at the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s 36th Annual Environment and Energy Awards Conference.
“Every action counts when it comes to sustainability initiatives, and environmental responsibility has been top-of-mind for this plant since the beginning,” said Antonio Pinto, CEO of Volkswagen Chattanooga. “We are proud of our work and are honored to receive this recognition. We take nothing for granted and continue our commitment to be a responsible company that makes a positive impact in our community.”
“We are proud to recognize Volkswagen and applaud their commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability,” said Bradley Jackson, president and CEO, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry. “The Chattanooga facility has a major economic impact not only in Southeast Tennessee but also for the entire state. Running a world-class manufacturing facility while also making it a priority to be good stewards of the environment is a model for manufacturing in Tennessee.”
The two-day conference brought business and industry leaders from across the state together with representatives of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and Region IV of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to celebrate environmental and energy improvements in the state.
Volkswagen Group of America’s commitment to Tennessee began with its decision in 2008 to build a plant in Chattanooga along with a promise of environmental stewardship in connection with the operation of the plant. Volkswagen committed to restoring the area wetlands, which were destroyed by the former occupants. As of 2018, the Volkswagen wetlands have grown from 40 to more than 88 acres.
Adjacent to the 88 acres of wetlands is the 33-acre Volkswagen Chattanooga Solar Park. The park contains 33,600 solar modules which produce 13.1 gigawatt hours of electricity annually. The electricity from the solar park meets more than 12 percent of the plant energy requirements during full production and 100 percent during non-production periods.
In 2011, Volkswagen’s Chattanooga manufacturing plant received a platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building certification program. The facility was the first automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive the USGBC’s Platinum certification.
Volkswagen strives to maximize gains in energy conservation while balancing manufacturing operation energy requirements. Electric motors used in manufacturing require high energy costs, however Volkswagen uses high-efficiency motors saving up to three million kwh annually. In addition, Volkswagen installed T5 lightbulbs throughout the facility that save approximately 1.15 million kilowatts a year, or enough energy to supply 280 households.
Beyond managing energy consumption, Volkswagen implemented innovative environmentally engineered production processes. The company’s paint shop uses a new technology—waterborne base coat—that incorporates the primer, eliminating a step in the painting process and, more importantly, an entire oven-baking session, which helps cut carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 20 percent.
Volkswagen Chattanooga collects rooftop rainwater and repurposes it into cooling the welding robots. Additionally, the rooftop is painted white to achieve a cooling effect on the interior of the plant.
In 2018, Electrify America, a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America, announced a $2 billion/10-year investment to advance the adoption of electric vehicles, with a significant focus on electric vehicle charger infrastructure. Even in its early stage, Electrify America has announced EV charging stations in Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga and Knoxville.
About Volkswagen Chattanooga
The Volkswagen Group of America, Chattanooga Operations, LLC (Volkswagen Chattanooga) manufacturing facility began production in April 2011. Volkswagen Chattanooga currently assembles the Volkswagen Passat, a midsize sedan specifically designed for the North American market, and the Volkswagen Atlas, a midsize sport utility vehicle which went on sale in May of 2017. In March 2018, Volkswagen Chattanooga was announced as the future production home of a five-seat SUV, representing an additional $340 million investment. Volkswagen Chattanooga currently employs approximately 3500 team members. Volkswagen Chattanooga was the first car factory worldwide with a LEED Platinum certification. It is also certified to international standards for energy management (ISO 50001), environmental management (ISO 14001) and quality management (ISO 9001).
About the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Founded in 1912, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry also serves as the Tennessee Manufacturing Association. Commanding statewide partnerships with businesses and local chambers, the Tennessee Chamber aims to enhance Tennessee’s business climate and support economic prosperity by advocating in the State Capitol to elected leaders and government officials on behalf of the state’s business community. The Chamber is the official state affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the American Chemistry Council. For more information, visit www.tnchamber.org.